I had my best culinary experience with Polenta while living in San Francisco. My best friend M. took me out for dinner one evening to celebrate her birthday. I chose Polenta with creamy mushrooms... and it was
I cook Polenta a lot at home and always have it handy. When I am
For the Polenta Croûtons
- 3 cups (750 ml) water
- 1 1/2 cups (340gr) yellow corn meal
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 1 ts salt
- 2 ts (10 ml) Olive Oil + 1 Tbs (15ml) for baking
- Thyme sprigs loose + a few for baking (optional)
- Cover a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.
- Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to low and dump the yellow corn meal. Stir well.
- Let cook over low heat for about 12-15 minutes, stirring regularly so that the polenta does not scorch on the bottom.
- Add Parmesan and stir until Parmesan is melted in the Polenta
- Remove from heat and add Cayenne pepper, salt, olive oil, and thyme.
- Spread the Polenta evenly on the parchment paper. Thickness should be about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm). Let cool completely, putting the tray in the fridge if you are not going to bake the croûtons immediately.
- About 20 minutes before cooking the croûtons, pre-heat oven to 400F (200 C).
- Cut Polenta into croûtons (cut along horizontal and vertical lines)
- Put olive oil on a cooking pan. Spread the croûtons and toss them in olive oil. Add a few extra sprigs of thyme for extra flavor.
- Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, stir and cook for another 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
For the Mushrooms:
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
- Olive Oil
- Salt, black pepper to taste
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Heavy cream/light cream or Ricotta cheese (about 2 Tbs)
My Personal Comments:
- Over medium heat, saute the onion in olive oil.
- Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are cooked
- Add cream to the mushrooms for extra sauce.
- Serve the mushrooms over the Polenta Croutons.
- You can use whatever herbs or spice you want to flavor the croûtons. I like Cayenne pepper because it gives them a little extra spicy taste.
- You can reheat the croûtons by sauteing them in a non-stick pan for a few minutes but they are best eaten straight out of the oven.